Posted by Literary Titan
Romance Scam Survivor, written by Jan Marshall, is the story of how Jan herself came to be the victim of an online scam. Jan, a woman in her fifties, moves back to her childhood home in Melbourne. Having originally left to pursue her career, Jan lived independently for a long time, but coming back to Melbourne she had realized she wanted to feel loved. This leads her to look for a match on an online dating website. Not long after creating her profile, a man going by the name of Eamon, from Canada, messages her and they decide to stay connected. They go on to exchange emails, instant messages and eventually call each other; with each step their relationship grows stronger. Jan, filled with hope for a future with a man she has never met, fails to see the numerous red flags along the way.
Jan recounts her story using many of the emails and instant messages she collected throughout the exchange. This is a unique approach to the topic, as in doing this, she shows how the scam affected her emotionally at each stage of the journey. By looking back on her conversations with Eamon she comments, with hindsight, the worrying signs of a scam and pin-points exactly how she got reeled in.
As the relationship grew stronger Jan’s friends and family tried to warn her against Eamon. They tried to tell her that Eamon was becoming obsessive, a trait common in scammers. The reader holds a similar outsider perspective as the friends do in the book, watching as Eamon tries to increase the contact to numerous times a day and persistently asking for personal details. The reader thus feels the same compulsion as Jan’s friends and family to point out the ‘red flags’ of the relationship.
Eamon continuously plays on Jan’s hopes, fantasies and fears. She wants to settle down with a man, so Eamon fills that role for her, talking about potentially moving to Melbourne with her. This makes the relationship all the more real to Jan thus getting her hopes up. Jan’s fear of being alone and unworthy of love also add to her denial of Eamon being anything sinister, even when he change’s topic swiftly to her assets and work history. As the reader, it is hard to watch the scam unfold and seeing how vulnerable Jan was.
The most striking part of this book however, is Part Two, where Jan discusses her recovery. She explains the first days and weeks in detail, exploring her relationships with the people around her. Explaining their reactions, how they questioned her decisions. But most importantly her own thoughts; how she grappled with how easily she had been manipulated and why she ignored the signs.
This book gives a victim’s perspective of how a scam impacts one’s life and with hindsight gives a deeply critical investigation into how they can be manipulated. In an age where dating sites and apps are becoming common, this book could help people who have been in a similar situations, those who are potentially going through it, or potentially instill caution in those that don’t know the signs to lookout for.
Pages: 339 | ASIN: B078KS9Q2M
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